By Ray Hamill
Like Rob Ford’s political reputation, the Canadians have been skating on thin ice for some time when it comes to the Stanley Cup.
In fact, it has now been 21 years since a team from north of the border won the cup, and if anything, it appears to be getting worse for a nation that loves its hockey even more than its curling, and boy do the Canadians love their curling.
This spring, for the first time since 1973 there is just a solitary representative from Canada in the 16-team Stanley Cup playoff field, with the Montreal Canadiens the last team standing.
The good news for the Canadiens in their unlikely quest to restore some pride to the country that invented the sport is that they are leading Tampa Bay 3-0 in their opening best-of-seven series and cruising toward a conference semifinal.
The bad news is they’ll probably lose to Boston (Detroit?) once they get there.
And so the drought continues?
It is actually quite a startling turnaround, and goes against recent Olympic trends that have seen a resurgence for the Canadians and resulted in them winning three of the past four gold medals.
Before the drought, the Canadians dominated the NHL, winning 43 of the first 67 Stanley Cups, including a 22-10 run between 1962 and 1993.
Since then, however, five Canadian teams have reached the Stanley Cup Finals and all five have come up short, four of them losing out in game 7s.
To rub even more salt into the wounds, three of those Canadian teams – Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa – lost out in consecutive seasons to Anaheim, Carolina and Tampa Bay, hardly hotbeds of hockey tradition and guardians of Lord Stanley’s sacred covenant.